Countries/Jurisdictions of Primary Concern - Ghana

Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
Report

Ghana is an important regional financial center, including for illicit financial activity. Ghana’s political stability, relatively strong democratic consolidation, and rapid economic growth have reinforced the need for the country to develop a robust AML/CFT regime. Most of the money laundering in Ghana involves narcotics trafficking, various forms of fraud, and public corruption. Advance fee fraud, lottery, romance, and inheritance scams, e-fraud, stolen Ghanaian credit card and ATM account numbers, and check cloning continue to increase. The advancement of technology has complicated regional AML/CFT efforts as computer systems have become the main conduit for financial crimes. In Ghana, internet fraud schemes known locally as “sakawa” are proliferating. Most fraudsters prey on unsuspecting foreigners.

Public corruption is a major source of laundered funds in Ghana, occurring mainly in conjunction with public procurements or the awarding of licenses. Criminals launder illicit proceeds through investments in banking, insurance, real estate, automotive and general trading businesses and, reportedly, donations to religious institutions.

By some estimates, informal financial activity accounts for approximately 45 percent of the total Ghanaian GDP. Trade-based money laundering is sometimes used to repatriate “profit” or to evade customs duties and other taxes. Some traders import counterfeit goods or smuggle goods to evade taxes. In most cases, smugglers transport goods into the country in small quantities, and Ghanaian authorities have no indication these smugglers have links to criminals seeking to launder the proceeds of narcotics trafficking or corruption. Ghana is also one of the top destinations for stolen cars, many originating in the United States. The Gulf of Guinea has also become a hotbed for drug activity, including smuggling using both small and large vessels. The Ghana Navy and Air Force are logistically constrained in their ability to patrol the country’s territorial waters.

Regulations governing domestic and offshore banks are largely similar. Both are required to perform customer due diligence and file suspicious transaction reports (STRs). Currently, no banks in Ghana provide offshore banking services. Ghana has designated four free trade zone (FTZ) areas, but the Tema Export Processing Zone is the only active FTZ. Ghana also licenses factories outside the FTZ areas as free zone companies; most produce garments and processed foods. They must export at least 70 percent of their output. The Ghana Free Zone Board and the immigration and customs authorities monitor these companies. There are identification requirements for companies, individuals, and their vehicles in the free zone; however, monitoring and due diligence procedures are lax.

For additional information focusing on terrorist financing, please refer to the Department of State’s Country Reports on Terrorism, which can be found at: http://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/crt/

Do FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONs engage in currency transactions related to international narcotics trafficking that include significant amounts of US currency; currency derived from illegal sales in the U.S.; or illegal drug sales that otherwise significantly affect the U.S.: NO

criminalizATION OF money laundering:

“All serious crimes” approach or “list” approach to predicate crimes: All serious crimes

Are legal persons covered: criminally: YES civilly: YES

Know-your-customer (KYC) rules:

Enhanced due diligence procedures for PEPs: Foreign: YES Domestic: YES

KYC covered entities: Banks, insurance and securities firms, casinos, auctioneers, notaries, lawyers, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), accountants, religious bodies, real estate developers, operators of games of chance, trust and company service providers and nominees, funds remitters and exchanges, dealers in motor vehicles, dealers in precious minerals and stones, savings and loan companies, investment firms, brokerage firms, finance houses, leasing companies, capital market operators, oil and gas dealers, real estate companies and agents, freight forwarders, timber operators, and mining companies

REPORTING REQUIREMENTS:

Number of STRs received and time frame: 263: January 1 - November 10, 2014

Number of CTRs received and time frame: 1,496,931: January 1 - November 10, 2014

STR covered entities: Banks, discount houses, money remitters, finance companies, and money brokers; factors, project financiers and consultants, plant and equipment leasing firms; debt, investment, pension, and fund managers; private ledger services; export finance firms; lawyers, notaries, and accountants; religious bodies and NGOs; securities firms; insurance and real estate companies; auctioneers, dealers in cars and precious metals and stones; casinos; and trust and company service providers

money laundering criminal Prosecutions/convictions:

Prosecutions: 17 in 2014

Convictions: 1 in 2014

Records exchange mechanism:

With U.S.: MLAT: YES Other mechanism: YES

With other governments/jurisdictions: YES

Ghana is a member of the Inter Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA), a FATF-style regional body. Its most recent mutual evaluation can be found at: http://www.giaba.org/reports/mutual-evaluation/Ghana.html.

Enforcement and implementation issues and comments:

Ghana remains committed to the fight against ML/TF and other transnational organized crime and continues to make progress in improving its AML/CFT efforts. In March 2014, Ghana’s parliament passed the 2013 Anti-Terrorism Amendment Bill and the 2013 Anti-Money Laundering Amendment Bill. The broad objective of both pieces of legislation is to make the 2008 Anti-Money Laundering Act consistent with international AML/CFT standards. The anti-terrorism bill remedies an ambiguity regarding the freezing powers of the High Court relating to terrorist funds. The AML bill makes the Financial Intelligence Center’s (FIC) power to request information on currency transaction reports stronger and more flexible. Also in March, the FIC, Ghana’s financial intelligence unit (FIU), was admitted into the Egmont Group of FIUs. In 2014, Ghana also expanded its Inter-Ministerial Committee on Money Laundering from five to seven members. Ghana is devising its first AML/CFT national risk assessment and action plan.

The advancement of technology has complicated regional AML/CFT efforts as computer systems and networks have become the main conduit for financial crimes. In 2014, a private cybersecurity and investigations firm based in Accra, launched a training academy that assists businesses, individuals, law enforcement, security agencies, and related stakeholders in investigating electronic fraud and security incidents.

In November 2013, port authorities in Ghana detained a small vessel from Guyana, M.V Atiyah, that was carrying 450 kilograms of cocaine worth $50 million.

The Government of Ghana should devote more resources to improving the government’s technological security architecture and combating its cyber criminals. With a robust legal regime in place, Ghana will need to increase the number of ML/FT cases it prosecutes with an eye toward more successful prosecutions of these types of cases. Ghana should continue its efforts to enhance the implementation of its AML/CFT regime to work toward successful prosecutions and convictions.